The Sound of Music
21st June 2019
Inspirations Theatre Co
St Martin's Church, Chesterfield
Type of Production
Author: Joyce Handbury
I went to Inspirations Theatre Company Juniors to see The Sound of Music in a very unusual venue, that of a church. Not only was that to be different but also what a lovely surprise it was that not only was I to see the show but also adaptations of three Fairy Tales - The Three Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk.
As in many churches the pews had been removed and replaced with chairs so enabling it to be used for many purposes. There was a centre aisle in the nave with a raised dais on which was a bed and various props, the right of the choir stalls was set out with a table and chairs and to the left was a ‘stair-like’ metal structure. These were all well used throughout the fairy tales and the main event. I was most impressed by the metal structure, it was so creatively designed that by just the addition of green cloth, it became a beanstalk, hills and a mountain in The Sound of Music.
The twenty one young people, some as young as six, that took part in the fairy tales were all absolutely delightful. I don’t want to single anyone out because all of the youngsters playing major roles were excellent and really good support came from those in the more minor roles. The three different houses in The Three Little Pigs were great and the cow in Jack and the Beanstalk was wonderful. All three tales were so entertaining, so enthusiastically and so superbly delivered I just loved them. Many congratulations to all those who took part in the Fairy Tales and all of them were later also involved in The Sound Of Music.
I don’t think that there are many people that haven’t seen or heard of The Sound of Music which is based on the real-life Von Trapp Family Singers who escaped from Austria, which was under Nazi rule at the time, across the mountains to Switzerland. Marie is a postulant in a convent but the Mother Abbess decides that she should leave the Abbey and take on a job as a governess to the Von Trapp children. This version has been edited to better suit younger performers, but all the elements that make the show a classic are still in place. Lydia Stone was perfect in the role of Maria. She was so exuberant, endearing and full of life and her beautiful, sweet and pure singing made light work of all her songs which were all outstandingly delivered none more so than when she sang the title song ‘The Sound of Music’ - it certainly ‘made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end’. Not only can she sing but her acting skills too, were equally superb - loved her animated facial expressions. In the role of Captain Von Trapp was William Cousins. He admirably portrayed the aloof disciplinarian and definitely commanded the stage as he ruled his children as if he were still in the navy. Under the influence of Maria and music, William showed the softer side of the character and his emotional singing of ‘Edelweiss’ was super. Another fine performance came from Eleanor Molyneux as Mother Abbess. In the opening number ten nuns all dressed in black and led by the Abbess came from the back of the church singing the Preludium and as you can imagine as it was sung in a church with the marvellous accoustics, it was just so moving and so harmoniously delivered. Eleanor Molyneux gave a fine performance as Mother Abbess and her powerful singing of ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ was heavenly! She had brilliant support in both singing and acting from from Liberty Young (Sister Berthe), Mollie Myhill (Sister Margaretta) and Cara Foss (Sister Sophia). The Von Trapp children were Ruby Bircumshaw (Leisel), Jakob Tann (Friedrich), Cerys Johnson (Louisa), Henry Chalk (Kurt), Isla Fox (Brigitta), Grace Lowry (Marta) and Georgie Archbold (Gretl). They were all so adorable and so well turned out in their numerous outfits and they sang their ‘iconic songs’ with great gusto and enthusiasm. Two first-rate performances came from Kian Mosley as Rolf, the young somewhat misguided teenager - the duet with Leisl was superbly sung by both of them, and Leighton Henson definitely had a swagger about him as the impresario, Max. Excellent support came from those in minor roles and from the ensemble. All the musical numbers including solos, duets and full chorus were extremely well delivered and the accompanying dance routines, where applicable, were imaginatively choreographed and so splendidly performed.
It was very evident that a tremendous amount of hard work had been put in by everyone involved and to stage it in a church added another dimension that demanded extremely creative and innovative thinking all of which, resulted in a wonderful ‘double’ production. Well done, and many congratulations on your 20th Anniversary.